The impact of changing the name of the ?unprogrammed? element of the Brighton Festival to ?Fringe? (p3) should be evidence enough to silence anyone who doubted the power of language to convey - or fail to convey - meaning.
It?s also gratifying for those of us who promote the value of effective research, that Brighton?s name change came about following research which revealed that nobody understood what the original names of the Fringe programme meant! Two contributors to this week?s issue also comment on the language used in the arts - Christopher Shaw (p13) who cites the occasional ?newspeak? of arts professionals as one of the things he finds most difficult in his role as Vice Chair of Berwick?s Maltings Arts Centre, and Ken Bennett-Hunter, who explores the true meaning of the word ?governance?.
But let?s face it, ?true meanings? can be somewhat unpalatable, leading to the development of a coded lexicon by arts professionals. ?Challenging? is a particular favourite, often used to describe artistic work that is completely impenetrable to everyone but the artist. ?Partnership? ? another interesting term ? implies a cosy togetherness that is so seldom the case; often signifying an arrangement in which it is more opportune to work with another party than against them. And how often do we say ?culturally diverse? when we actually mean ?ethnically diverse?? Then, of course, there?s the issue of ?accessibility?. Perhaps as an industry we should investigate our own use of ?inaccessible? jargon before concerning ourselves too much with our own prejudice as to which art is ?accessible? and to whom.